Posts Tagged karate kata
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie, Equilibrium. Great movie, with a ‘gun kata’ in it.
Interestingly, I ran into a fellow one day, and we started talking, and we got on the issue of mechanics and martial arts and gun control. There were some interesting points made, and I’ll tell you about them right after the video.
He described gun control the exact same way I was describing martial arts.
And we were both surprised, because other people don’t understand these types of physics.
A physics apart, and i had run into one of the few people in the world who could understand, and had even made inroads, into the physics behind everything.
I’ve seen them in Golf (probably got me started, my dad taught me gold and we had all these mags every month, and in the mags were geometrical renderings of swings and things.) A fe other plaes, but in all places only in bits and pieces.
It seems that the world can only see in pieces.
Anyway, it was interesting.
The Gun Kata.
It’s all he same if you can only put the pieces together.
Check out my further thoughts on the matter of Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
I was watching Karate on the youtube last night, and I was struck by how little people know about the correct form of the martial arts. Check out the vid snip right below, This is how I explain how you get good form, then continue with the article.
They turn their feet out at the wrong time, they separate their body into pieces, they do so many things that dissipate energy and lessen intention.
And I am not talking beginners here, I am talking about people with decades of experience.
Now, it wasn’t always that way. When I started the martial arts were fresh to the shores, and we bought everything we could, read everything we could, and were thirsty for day.
And, we thought about what we were learning.
What has happened that has destroyed the martial arts is the fanatic desire to have ritual.
If I do what teacher says, I don’t have to think, and then I will learn.
Do you see the corruption of logic here?
How can you learn if you don’t have to think?
Why do you think colleges are turning out people who can’t learn?
Because they memorize in ritual, instead of learning how to think.
Question, man, you have to have a question.
And not a questino as to the next piece of the sequence of the kata, but a question as to how it works, why it works, what’s the best (better) way to make it work.
That’s all I can say, Argh!
Frustration for a society that prefers to go blind.
Well, the way to not go blind is to ask questions, demand answers, and not be satisfied with what you are taught.
I tell you this,
your teachers have already bought into it,
so be careful of your teachers.
If they can’t give you good reasons for what you are doing,
good scientific, sound, logical, technical reasons for why the form is constructed the way it is, the best way to make a technique work,
all the secondary techniques off the first technique, and so on,
then you are following the blind.
And, don’t believe me.
Check out my sites, see if I make sense, and then you will know whether my words here can be believed.
Monster Martial Arts is one site. Got oodles of stuff on it. Articles, courses, everything.
Or, check out Learn Karate Online. Got an actual free lesson or two on it.
Go on, see if I make sense.
I understand why people are leery of the net, there’s so much crap out there. It’s the same old same old. Well, I tell you, this is the brand new brand new, but you aren’t going to see it if you don’t take a look, and you won’t get it if you just shut your mind up and stop asking questions.
Tekki Kata, also known as Haihanchi, is one of the best forms in all the martial arts. Many people refer to it as The Iron Horse. As this name indicates, it is a horse stance form, and the karateka moves from side to side while performing it.
The power generated by this Okinawan Karate form is absolutely awesome. The deep stance works the legs, and the tan tien starts to pump up, and one feels the chi power course through the frame almost from the get go. It is usually taught around black belt level in systems such as Kyokushinkai.
When I first learned Naihanchi I would practice while facing a partner and having ‘kata races.’ We would mirror each other, and go back and forth, building our speed and perfecting our moves. Eventually, we would find a harmony of motion that one will not see in many martial art patterns.
When I asked my instructor about it, he said it was designed for fighting in rice paddies. The footwork enabled one to grip the ground no matter how muddy. The sideways motion paralleled the earthwork in the rice paddies, where other foot patterns would result in loss of footing.
As my studies continued I came across the concept that the form was designed for riding a horse. Even if a warrior lost his weapons while riding a horse, he could keep fighting while gripping the horse with the leg strength built up by the form. I found this a fascinating notion, but it didn’t ring quite true.
In time, I happened across the book ‘Shotokan’s Secrets,’ written by Dr. Bruce Clayton. The good doctor claimed that the kata were actually designed for actual fighting in the Imperial throne room of old Okinawa. This theory at first seemed odd, but the more I thought about it the more sense it made.
Imagine the scene: invading troops attempt to capture the king of Okinawa, and the front row troops use the movements from the Pinan forms (Heian katas) to create confusion. Meanwhile, the advanced bodyguards move sideways across the back of the room while the king is hustled through a rear door and to safety. This theory not only made sense when analyzing the specific movements, but in the historical and psychological sense, too.
What the truth is will be debated as long as Karate is taught. Of course, it doesn’t matter as long as that fabulous form generates good, old fashioned ‘chi power’ by the bushel. Call it Naihanchi, Tekki, or just the Iron Horse, this is one Karate Kata that is good for the ages.
On of my favorite kata was Kima Chodan. It has several other names, Tekki, the Iron Horse, and so on. It was also the favorite of Giochin Funakoshi, he spent ten years playing with it.
The reason it is so great is that it is a power form. Getting low in the horse, stepping back and forth, just powers up the tan tien like nobody’s business.
One of my favorite things was to face a partner and mirror the form. We would race, find harmony, critique each other endlessly. A mirror that actually talked…how cool was that, eh?
For those who would like to go extreme, it’s fun to put a heavy weight vest and go crazy, or to hold dumbells and go crazy.
After a while the power jacks up, you start feeling like nobody in the world could stop you, and man, ain’t life a hoot!
Anyway, here’s my version of it. I learned it forty years ago, and I haven’t tweaked it much, so it’s a pretty pure version. Comes not through the Japanese lineage, but direct to the Okinawa Masters who taught Gichin Funakoshi. If you want to learn more about the old Karate forms surrounding Kima Chodan, or Tekki or the Iron Horse or whatever you call it, check out Temple Karate at Monster Martial Arts.
What does a Karate Kata mean? It’s a dance, it’s a book of techniques, it’s a method for controlling and teaching large numbers of people without the need for data. It’s zen, it’s one thing at a time, it’s a belt arrangement system.
It’s a recent invention that dates back two thousand years…and it shows you exactly and precisely and where to place them clodhoppers you call feets. It’s data arranged out of order in a set sequence. Whatever they are, do them long enough and you will know Karate.
Well, maybe. Maybe not. After all if Gichin Funakoshi is to be believed, Karate is changing and changing…here is his direct quote.
“Hoping to see Karate included in the universal physical education taught in our public schools, I set about revising the kata so as to make them as simple as possible. Times change, the world changes, and obviously the martial arts must change too. The Karate that high school students practice today is not the same Karate that was practiced even as recently as ten years ago [this book was written in 1956], and it is a long way indeed from the Karate I learned when I was a child in Okinawa.”
The classical Kata attributed to Gichin Funakoshi are called Heian. This writer learned, from a lineage other than the Japanese, Karate forms called Pinan. And there were distinct and stark differences between the two.
The Heian are violent, forward stancing, explosive, in your face, one punch one kill. The Pinan have focus in the fist, work out of the more defensive back stance, modify the explosion exactly to the work being performed, are subtle and polite, and believe in getting along with your fellow man.
Of course, my bias holds, the Pinans are better. They were created before the young turks of the Japanese college system altered them for tournaments and power and fighting and power and glory and power and…well, power. The Pinans were created before lust was in vogue.
Of course, that said, this writer’s bias taken into account, one can modify the forms back to the way they were. All one has to do is adjust the angles and modify the mind. Ahh, modify the mind…perhaps it is not possible…but one can hope.
If you would like to view the original Pinans, maybe even take a free Karate lesson, try Learn Karate Online.
Back in 1967, when I was studying Kenpo Karate, I used to drive my instructors crazy. I kept coming in with books and doing forms out of them. Specifically, from the Best Karate Series by Nakayma, I found first Heian Two Karate Kata, then Heian Five, and I was in heaven.
I loved the power of those stances, I loved the feeling in the air when I did those whole body movements.
And, of particular interest to me was the art of the jump. I figured out how to swing the leg and rock the body into a launch. I figured out how to pull those legs high up under me, and then land low. The idea was to jump over a low sword swing, and then land under a high sword swing.
These are things that you don’t learn in MMA. I have nothing against MMA, I just don’t study it because it is sport instead of art.
The intent of sport is to beat another person, the intent of art is refine the self (achieve perfection).
I don’t mean to speak ill of other physical disciplines, because there is something to be learned from all, and darn, there is a part of me that just loves a good competition. But when it comes to my personal evolution, I prefer the art, and to this day, near forty-five years later, I still practice the Karate Kata known as Heian Five, or as it was called in the traditional martial arts school I later went to…Pinan Two. Check out my site for Evolution of an Art, it has three complete classical martial arts, dozens of forms, hundreds of techniques, and all sorts of things that will aid you evolution as a martial artist.
I’m speaking of the Crossed Knife Hands raised to protect the head.
When you do this move you circle the hands clockwise, then left horizontal backfist, then punch. Youa re obviously slap and swinging the attacking hand (holding a club or knife or whatever) in a circle, and backfisting the guy in the center of the chest.
Well, it’s understandable. Ain’tnothing wrong with it, but…there’s something else there.
Take a look at the vid snip, then let me explain…
The fact of the matter is that the technique makes more sense if you circle the hands clockwise into an armbar or elbow roll. Much better.
So why do it the other way? Because there is a hip twist and whole body movement potential, which, if done correctly, can crack the chestplate of an armored samurai.
It takes power, it takes technique, but it is possible.
But people don’t really get the hip connection,
or learn how to power up the hands so they really explode all the way from the tan tien. That’s the difference, you know. Real karate out of the McDojo mess that many people learn.
It ain’t the tournament that’s important, man. It’s the power. Classical Karate Power that results in whole body energy surging down the limbs to the fists…and you can crack armor.
You can download Pinan Five, with all the techniques and the original power, all for only ten bucks. Go to the menu at the top of the page and check out Kang Duk Won. It’s the best deal since Christmas!
Or, if you’re interested in the video snippet, pop on over to Monster Martial Arts and check out Temple Karate.
Who, or what, does the changing in Karate. Interesting question, eh? I’ll give you more of an answer right after the video snippet.
Can you see any changes? Is it different than your Tekki or Horse Kata?
We study a fixed art, don’t change those forms, and that changes us. We adhere to a program, and become the program.
Yet, if we don’t change the martial art, the art will eventually stop changing us.
The art is a a manifestation of the spirit, and the truth of a spirit is that it must keep changing. This is the fact of creation.
So if you are an old dog who won’t alter a move to fit a situation…the porch is over there, go crawl under it.
But, if you are one of these rebel types, willing to put your chin out and risk a wallop, as long as you get to learn something, then you’re in the right company. Here’s a win.
Al I have enjoyed studying your work. I love how it is changing the way I look at Karate and Hapkido. Respectfully James
This is a guy who’s learning Karate, and learning himself at the same time.
Check out my Evolution of an Art page. It offers three complete arts for cheap. Do the arts and you’ll understand how big an art can be. Pick up a free ebook on the home page while you’re there.
I’m going to tell you three reasons exactly why Classical Karate Techniques Don’t Work. Some of these reasons you’re going to be able to fix. Some of them you’re not.
The most obvious Karate Bunkai, and I’m talking about the ones taken directly from the form, don’t work is that they are poser. A Poser technique is one wherein the attacker makes his attack, then holds his pose while the defender makes the technique work. Of course, that’s not really making a technique work.One can go through his martial art and toss out poser techniques, but therein lies a huge problem.
The reason you don’t want to throw out posers ties directly into the second reason bunkai often prove unworkable, these poser tricks are often an evolution to a technique that does work. In fact, while there are many posers that should be tossed, the fact is that many of the posers lead directly into the techniques that are so Fng unstoppable it is unbelievable. Remember, one of the original talents that the originators of Karate had was the ability to disarm a samurai. That takes some kind of technique.
And we come to the third reason, which ties back to the second and first reason. People don’t understand the basics. They don’t take the time to look into the poser techniques until they understand the higher evolutions of art. Actually, when I say basics, I mean basic/basics, the reasons underlying the basics. Heck, when I watch some classical karate classes it is obvious that many instructors don’t even know that the basic/basics exist.
The point of this blog has been to point out three reasons Karate is sometimes less than workable, and to help you deal with them. The unfortunate news, as you will find out when you start shuffling your posers around and trying to eliminate them, you can’t just throw them out. Throwing a low ranking poser out will toss out the higher evolution technique that really works.
This is where Matrixing comes in. Matrixing doesn’t just throw out the exact posers that should be thrown out, it restructures the art, reconnects the lower evolution moves with the higher evolution moves. But it doesn’t do this for you, it gives you the knowledge so that you can do the restructuring. No art, no method, has ever done this before; there has never been anything like Matrixing in the martial arts on this planet. Ever. But if you use Matrixing, you’ll be able to resurrect the power of the original Karate, make all those Classical Karate Techniques work, and without destroying your art in the process.
You can find out how to Matrix your Karate at Matrix Karate.
Thank you for being so open and accessible. I have for many years enjoyed your articles and columns. I always thought it was funny that they had you in there making traditionalists mad and then Dave Lowry in the next column making the eclectics (artists) mad and the both of you would generate more readership and letters to the editor over your subject matter. If you’ll recall your article on the basic form you created that you referred to as house. I added the mirror image to the other side and created a second one based on the same structure and have taught these as the first two katas in my system. If you cut them in half (or back in half as the first one goes) they are great to also teach ADD kids and mentally handicapped people. Thank you for that article. Too many of the “grand poobas” these days believe they are too high and mighty to speak to someone if they are not this rank or in good with them somehow. Take care! David Woods
You do your forms reverse side, backwards (reversing motion, not just doing the sequence backwards), and any other way you can think of. It’s not matrixing, but it is pretty darned powerful. You’ll find some strange things going on in your mind, and you start to undo the ‘robotic’ traditions you may have absorbed.
There’s a free karate book going over some of the forms David was working on at one of my sites.